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Collins Introduces Legislation to Encourage Rural Broadband Development

WASHINGTON—Today Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced the Gigabit Opportunity (GO) Act to promote broadband development in rural and economically disadvantaged areas.

“Countless communities in northeast Georgia and across the country have seen their growth stalled by a lack of meaningful broadband access. In the twenty-first century, education, jobs and economic success are tied to digital infrastructure, and I’ve introduced the GO Act to increase broadband investment in rural America through smarter, simpler policies based on market competition,” said Collins.

The GO Act would incentivize private investment in rural broadband by allowing companies to defer certain capital gains taxes when they convert those gains to long-term investments in broadband infrastructure within state-designated “Gigabit Opportunity Zones.” While many rural and low-income areas lack access or are limited to a single provider, this bill would also encourage market competition by enabling companies expanding infrastructure in Gigabit Opportunity Zones to expense the cost of any gigabit-capable equipment on the front end.

This legislation would foster competition, streamlining and new investment in such underserved areas by encouraging states and local governments to remove the burdens of outdated public policies on the broadband industry. It dovetails with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to support government efforts to streamline broadband regulations.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) introduced the Senate companion bill, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai commended as “an important step toward closing the digital divide.”

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